Matthew Felkey, My Other Son and Future Broadway Star

http://straighteyeforthetheatreguy.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MattFelkeyPage

I have known this young and talented man since he was 12 years old. He and my Meggie were boyfriend and girlfriend for a short time. But even though their twitterpation didn’t last, their friendship did. So much so that he will be her Man of Honor at her wedding in December. He’ll sing at the wedding too. I know it will move me to tears. The rawness of his tenor voice does me in every time I hear him sing. You can feel the lyrics as they pour from his heart, lungs, and mouth. It just blows me away. Brings me to my knees.

I’ve heard him sing in my living room. I’ve heard him sing in almost every damn show that Tecumseh Youth Theater has ever put on during his middle and high school years. I’ve heard him sing in every damn choir that Tecumseh High School has. And I’ve even heard him sing original music in a smoky bar with his band. He’s stuck right now. He wants so badly to be in New York City. He wants to be a star. He has the potential to be just that. I believe it with every fiber of my being. This man, this beautiful young man. With the voice of an angel, will be a star. He can act, he can dance, he writes stories, he writes lyrics and music, he plays piano, and guitar. Hell, I think he can do anything.

In the comments section of his first blog entry I told him this:

I still remember sitting in the theater watching you sing this song. The tears came and streamed down my face. Roger Darling looked over at me and smiled. He knew that I wasn’t only crying because the song was so beautiful, and I love your voice, but it’s also because I’m so proud of you. I know your talent. Roger, Meg, Adam, and I are your family. Your family is our family and we love each other. Can’t imagine not having all of you in our lives. Honey get the hell out of here and go to NYC. You’re going to make it! Love you my dear other son.

The video  isn’t the best quality but you can hear the feeling in his voice. You can feel the pain in his heart as he sings of his love for Aida. This woman he can never be with. Because of war, slavery of a people and hate. She is a princess and he a prince but because of war there is no future for them. Radames and Aida are sentenced to death and placed in a tomb together. They are deprived of light and air, but not of  their love.  He vows to look for her over 100 lifetimes to find her. So that he can love her again. At the end of the musical, we are transported back to the present in a museum and a young man and woman viewing the artifacts of the ancient time of Aida and Radames. It turns out that they really did find each other after many lifetimes of searching. In a museum displaying ancient artifacts of an incredible love. A love that didn’t die even when the two lovers suffocated in a tomb.

What resonates with me most is not Matt’s singing during the show, which was heart wrenching and exemplary. But it was his dialogue when he and Aida were in the tomb preparing to die. His words tore my heart out. It was the way he said them that made them feel so incredibly real. He transformed into Radames. He was no longer Matt, but a prince vowing undying love to his princess.

I pray for him. I pray for him to find his way. I know he will. I know I will sit in the audience on the opening night of his first starring role. I know we will be there with his family and we will be in awe of him again. As will the rest of the audience. I know in my heart of hearts, he will win the hearts of millions. I feel it in my bones.

AIDA
It’s so dark.

RADAMES
Give me your hand. I’m right here with you. There is another world waiting 
for us, Aida. I can feel it. The way I always knew there was a world beyond 
every bend in the Nile. Just waiting to be discovered.

AIDA
You will find me in that world?

RADAMES
If I have to search for a hundred life times, I will find you again, Aida.

One Song Glory (RENT)

I Still Love You, New York

I remember the day the world stop turning. I remember where I was, and how I felt. The helplessness. I remember watching it unfold on television. I realized right then that our lives would never be the same. The security I felt, was gone. The arrogance of knowing what a great country I lived in, was gone. The innocence of my children, was gone. What it was replaced with was fear. What would happen next? When? Where? Why? How?

We had news feeds going on all of the televisions in the SSW. Classes were eventually canceled for the rest of the day. Staff were told to go home. We weren’t getting anything done anyway. We were too devastated. So many of my colleagues and friends were trying to get through to loved ones that were in NYC, and DC. Everything was jammed up. No calls in or out. When I got home I turned on the news. We had satellite television so our local stations came out of NYC. I live in Michigan. Go figure. I was riveted. I watched every bit of coverage that I could. I sat and cried. I listened to the screams and the cries as the towers came down. I saw the horror on the onlookers faces. The dust, the debris, the screaming, the running, the blood, all of it. I thought of the human wreckage. I thought of what to tell my children when they came home from school. The questions that they would have. Like why would people we don’t know want to hurt people that they don’t know? How do you answer that? How do you tell a 9 and 10 year old that there is evil in this world that can’t be explained? How? I thought of the intense hatred I felt for whoever did this to us.

A few years later I stood at Ground Zero. It was Fall. The air was cool. The sky partly cloudy. The patches of blue in the sky were lit by a beautiful Fall sun. I looked into the tomb. The group of teenagers I was with, were being respectful. Which was unusual. Hell, it was unusual for this sparkly, crazy momma to be respectful. But we all knew we were at a grave site. That it was our duty to be respectful. We looked at pictures, flowers and other artifacts that were placed on the various fences. We took pictures. K and I cried. It took us back to that day. It was strange being there. In such a loud and vibrant city, it was so peaceful. We went across the street to St. Paul’s Church and went inside. There were shrines, notes, flowers, posters, pictures. Everything you could think of. We didn’t speak. We just took it all in. We lit candles. I know, I know I’m no fan of organized religion. But I’m a Christian first and foremost, so I lit a damn candle. I said prayers for those taken from us, the survivors, the first responders. Everyone of us.

I think about the folks in the towers before they collapsed. I think about making the choice to jump or burning to death. I’m sure I would have jumped. I would have grabbed my Broseph’s R and K. My two favorite colleagues that I wouldn’t mind dying with. I would have wrapped my arms around them, kissed them both sweetly and passionately. Hell if you’re going to die, you might as well go out with a bang. I would have locked hands with them and jumped. We would have prayed to sprout wings on our descent. But known we would have earned them on impact.

In the days, months and years that followed people have asked me, did I know anyone that died. No I didn’t. I knew none of them, but I knew all of them. They were humans sharing my planet, my country. Therefore I mourn for them. They were people with families, with lives to live, bills to pay, babies to be born, and shit to do. So because they were all of those things and more I mourn for them. We all do. We always will. I still believe I live in the greatest country in the world. I do. I still believe that if you work hard you can make it here. That we have endless opportunities and we have endless possibilities. Planes crashing into buildings and killing thousands did not dampen our American spirit. I believe it only intensified it. It also brought other countries to our side. We did not realize how much we were loved until tragedy hit. But isn’t that the way it usually happens? You never know how strong you are until tragedy does hit? And hit us it did. Every single one of us, whether we knew someone personally that died or not. It changed us. All of us. Forever.